Doesn’t everyone love a marble run? Like pinball (more on that soon!) I love the physicality. Unlike computer games or animations, you can see something really moving in real space. Sometimes it goes slower than normal. Sometimes it gets stuck. There’s something delightful about that randomness and uncertainty.
As I built my marble run, the principles were simple: every piece must be used, and every ‘run’ has to be included in one of the paths of the ball (there were two starting positions). Verticals could, however, be used as props, to allow for more height.
Soon the marbles were plinking and plonking their way delightfully down the run. I like to imagine myself as the ball, bob-sleighing through its path. I am completely absorbed – both in the building and the testing of the runs. There are colours to play with, the sound of solid balls against plastic, and gravity doing its bit to make my job light and easy.
I’m always surprised that there’s something new to be found in even an old marble run set. A near infinite number of potential configurations. I’ll tear it down, and build it all again soon.
Children’s games constitute the most admirable social institutions. The game of marbles, for instance, as played by boys, contains an extremely complex system of rules – that is to say, a code of laws, a jurisprudence of its own. – Jean Piaget
Ease of play: 8/10
Resemblance to play: 9/10
Potential frequency of play: Medium